This Strawscraper Gets Its Power From Thousands Of Quivering Hairs

Using piezoelectricity, this concept skyscraper wouldn’t need to be attached to the city’s grid. It would get all its power from the wind passing through its hairy exterior.

Called a Strawscraper, this tower is covered in piezoelectric fronds that rustle in the wind, generating power for people inside. It’s just a concept, for now, but a pretty interesting one, and another example how designers see future buildings relying on their own power, rather than a power station at the city limits. Designer Rahel Belatchew Lerdell says the inspiration “came from fields of wheat swaying in the wind”, while a press release talks about a construction that gives “the impression of a body that is breathing”.

Belatchew’s blueprint calls for the “completion” of the Söder Torn, in Stockholm. The building, constructed the 1997, was originally envisaged as 40 stories, but was cut down to 26, when its architect, Henning Larsen, lost control of the project. The straws are an added bonus, but, for the moment, more futuristic than feasible.

Still the idea is intriguing. “By using piezoelectric technology, a large number of thin straws can produce electricity merely through small movements generated by the wind,” says the release. “The result is a new kind of wind power plant that opens up possibilities of how buildings can produce energy.”

Though piezoelectricity has never been used in this way, the idea is well understood (see here and here for a couple of studies). And several other designers have conceptualized using it. See here for another interesting example, conceived for the Masdar Energy City project in Abu Dhabi.

fastcoexist, May, 2013